Book Review: Lita Ford “Living Like A Runaway”

“Living Like a Runaway”

Author: Lita Ford
Publisher: Dey Street Books
Hardcover: 272 pages
Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Living Like a Runaway” provides a never before glimpse into the life of musician Lita Ford. The child of immigrants, she had a near idyllic southern California upbringing until she was thrust onto the hedonistic rock and roll scene at the age of just 16. With nearly unmatched skills, Lita along with Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, Sandy West, Jackie Fox and under the guidance of Kim Fowley brought the band the Runaway’s to a meteoric rise during the mid to late 1970’s. After the groups break up Lita go on to see tremendous success as a solo artist in the 1980’s. Fearless, revealing and, compulsively readable the long awaited memoir from a true rock pioneer is finally here.

“Living Like a Runaway” is a quick read that keeps the reader’s attention over the course of its 272 pages. Ford speaks candidly about her upbringing and how she was thrust at an early age in to the male dominated hard rock music scene. The book covers the early days of the Runaway a group who had to practically fight for everything they had before ultimately imploding after only 3 albums. From there Ford recounts her career as a solo artist from not knowing where to start to her chart topping duet with Ozzy Osbourne. It is all here. The part of the book that really struck me as odd as over the books 15 chapters Ford has no problem speaking of past sexual encounters with various hard rock legends however when it comes to explaining more of her issues related to former band members and the divorce which left her alienated from her two sons Ford quickly skirts around the issue either saying she doesn’t understand or in the case of the later includes a statement flat out saying she is refusing to talk about it. In the age of the internet where nothing is private what is the sense of putting out a “tell all” type memoir if that’s not exactly what you are going to do? At least you are able to tell your side.

Despite whatever the reasons were for omitting certain details the book is still a decent read for fans of Lita and her works. With not a lot of behind the scenes info on the Runaway’s especially there time in Japan, Lita Ford’s “Living Like a Runaway” does an ok job filling that void.

Lita Ford talks about music, touring and album “Living Like a Runaway”

Lita Ford got her first taste of success with the 70’s all-girl group The Runaways. After the groups break up Lita ventured out as a solo act in the 1980’s penning such hits as “Kiss Me Deadly” and the legendary duet “Close My Eye’s Forever” featuring Ozzy Osbourne. In 2012 Lita released a new album titled “Living Like a Runaway” which has thrust her back in to the spotlight. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Lita recently about her career and her upcoming spring/summer tour.

Adam Lawton: In the past year or so your career has undergone a resurgence. What do you think has caused that?
Lita Ford: My career has taking this leap for I think many reasons. I had been in the industry for many years and then I disappeared. In the time I was away raising my two boys people still hadn’t forgotten who I was. I am a part of the soundtrack to people’s lives. That’s something that just never goes away. Coming back I feel like I am on a more adult level now and the music has matured.

AL: Personally what do you think has been the biggest change in the industry from when you first started in 1975 to how things are now in 2013?
LF: Things have kind of come around in one big circle. That seems to be how a lot of things are. I started my career during the punk era with bands like The Sex Pistols, Blondie and The Ramones. That was a really awesome time. That led in to bands like Van Halen and Motley Crue which was the beginning of another heavy metal era. This new era of heavy metal was similar in how it came about in the way Black Sabbath did in the mid/late 60’s. The metal in the 80’s was a new kind of metal but still metal.

AL: Do you feel the perception of women in heavy metal music has changed it all since the 80’s?
LF: I think it has to a certain extent. It hasn’t changed 100% and is not completely normal. It has progressed and moved down the path a little bit further. When I started there were no real true female metal icons. There was no one to look up to as an artist. These days I have teenagers looking up to me for encouragement and inspiration. Now I am their icon. I never had something like that. I had people I looked up to like Richie Blackmore and Jimi Hendrix but no females.

AL: You have been heavily involved with Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. Can you tell us how you got involved with that?
LF: The program was started by David Fishof and he invited me to be a part of it. I ended up going down to speak with David and I also got to check everything out. I had a blast! The whole thing was just awesome. I am glad to be a part of it. I am a great teacher which I think comes from being a mom. There is no better teacher than a mom. I get to try and bring out the best in each of the campers who attend the program no matter what level they are at which is really cool.

AL: Can you tell us about you upcoming Spring/Summer tour?
LF: I will be going to Australia which I am very excited about. I love going there. The aussie’s are fucking nuts! I love them. We are also going to be hitting Scandinavia which is another really great place. It’s so beautiful there.

AL: Can you tell us about some of the other projects you have in the works?
LF: We just finished work on a video for the song “Mother” which should be coming out around Mother’s Day. Vicki Blue who played bass in The Runaway’s did an incredible cinematic work on this video. It is very heartfelt and you will probably need a tissue by the time you are done watching it. I am working on a book for Harper-Collins that right now is still in the early stages of things. The idea of the book is the story of a female rocker who faces a number of ups and downs. It’s a different take on Rock and Roll. Most of the books that are out there now are all based on guys. I have quite a few stories from my career that can be written about so the book will be very real. B.C. Rich just released the first Lita Ford signature Warlock guitar which is available at most Guitar Centers around the country and we are also planning some more U.S. shows with Vince Neil and Bret Michaels.